Guild members run into sticky picket
DERRY -- The right to peaceably assemble apparently wasn't taught to everyone at Pinkerton Academy.
Manchester Newspaper Guild activists braved the wrath of Pinkerton guards last Thursday during a picket that demonstrated the union's determination to hundreds of people attending a New Hampshire Union Leader-sponsored event.
The Guild picketed the Taste of Home Cooking School, sponsored by the newspaper, which was held on the campus of Pinkerton Academy, a private institution that educates high school children of Derry and other towns. Security guards for the school told about a dozen picketers to leave.
Security also demanded all cars belonging to picketers be moved off school grounds.
The Guild activists informed them the difference between private school property and public sidewalks. Derry police said they allowed picketers to return to the sidewalk because they were unsure whether the sidewalk was public or private, but not before requiring the law-abiding picketers to provide their names and birth dates, so they could issue "trespassing warnings."
Pinkerton security said after that point, they would have any protesters who crossed into school property arrested.
Guild picketers and leafletters willingly supplied their names when asked by Derry police, and the picket continued without incident.
“I'm proud of our members for standing up to one of the iconic foes of organized labor – Pinkerton guards,” quipped Guild President Norm Welsh. “Our folks showed their true union colors.”
One of the first union busting agencies was the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which came to public attention as the result of a shooting war between strikers and three hundred Pinkerton agents during the Homestead Strike of 1892.
What isn't funny is the Union Leader's contract proposal to the Manchester Newspaper Guild. The Guild is protesting company threats to lay off six experienced employees if the union does not accept a second pay cut in three years.
The Guild also picketed the New Hampshire Press Association annual meeting Thursday; Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid received an award from the organization, but he is out of the country.
The Guild plans to be visible at Union Leader events and sponsorships.
As picketers left around 6:30 p.m., one Pinkerton security officer directing traffic said: "Good luck with your quest."